I wrote this waaay back in mid October. But here it is now!
The past few weeks have been the kind of glorious fall weather that I have dreamed of my entire life. The mornings were cool, with just enough chill to make that cup of tea seem extra nice. The clouds hung low over the city in the early hours, enticing you to stay in bed, to stay wrapped up in your own white comforter, but once you crossed the hills west of Portland the blue sky opened up overhead. Demure velvety carpets of fog hovered over the fields in Hillsboro, leaving the foot or so above the golden ground strangely clear. The morning chill would eventually give way to glorious afternoons: just warm enough to draw you outside, and just cool enough to make you appreciate the sunshine. It was perfect for sitting in the courtyard in a sunbeam. The treas, at first unsure, started changing their dressings a few leaves at a time. First one branch would turn, slowly, tentatively shifting from green to red and gold and orange. Then its neighbors, perhaps inspired by the first branch’s boldness, or maybe just envious of its finery, would join in.
The fallen leaves crunched under foot, and swirled behind the cars like a beautifully mastered but not particularly creative car commercial.
It was gorgeous.
And then, suddenly, it was gone.
I didn’t know it would be leaving so soon. “The good weather lasts from July 4th through October”, the locals told me. I thought that included October! But here it is, not even half-way through October, and the forecast shows only rain for the foreseeable future.
This came as a shock to me, as I am not in the habit of checking the forecast. Tomorrow, I kept telling myself. Tomorrow I will remember to bring my camera, and capture all the glorious leaves and astounding blue sky. Tomorrow, I will pack a picnic lunch, and eat outside. Tomorrow, I will bring a jacket and eat in the courtyard.
I did not realize that hypothetical tomorrow would not be coming. I did not realize that once the rains start here, they don’t stop for six months. I did not realize that the sunshine was so, so precious.
Now that it’s gone, my desperation is clawing its way out of my chest. The end of any relationship is painful, of course, but I am taking this breakup particularly badly. I am that ex that makes you cringe.
Come back, baby, I say to the sunshine. If you just come back, I’ll be better. I’ll do it right this time–I’ll do right by you, I promise. I will eat dinner on the roof garden every night, even though it’s a hassle to bring the dishes down. I will eat every lunch in the courtyard at work, tossing crumbs to the scrub jay. I’ll drive to the beach every weekend! I’ll go kayaking, I’ll go hiking, I’ll go swimming; I’ll do all of the things I wanted to do but put off in favor of stupid things like cleaning and watching trashy supernatural dramas. I will go out even when I think it’s too hot, even though I hate wearing sunscreen, even though I am tired.
I cling desperately to the hope that this is just a trial separation. I believe–I know we can still work out our problems. I didn’t appreciate the sunshine when it was here–that’s on me, and I’m so sorry. I’m going to do better! We can make this work, if only the sunshine would give me another chance.
But deep down, I know. I know that it’s over. The sunshine took her toothbrush, and her record collection, and that stupid cat throw pillow. I even hear someone saw her out in New Mexico, drinking a beer and throwing darts with someone new.
Well, fine, if that’s the way it’s going to be. Two people can play that game. I can find someone new, too. In fact, I think I might even have met someone today. He’s different, certainly. A little less ostentatious, a little more reserved. He’d just as soon stay in as go to the beach with your friends. He says he likes warm soups and long baths, candlelight and reading, board games and crafts. He’s coming over this weekend. And, you know? I think I might even like him a little.